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Police make arrest in crash that killed P.G. officer

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Police have arrested one man who was in an Acura TL that a pair of officers were chasing down Interstate 95 on Monday afternoon when their cruiser lost control and crashed, killing one of the officers.

Sources with knowledge of the investigation who were not authorized to speak publicly on the matter identified the man arrested as Kenneth C. Mitchell, 24.

It was unclear Tuesday what charges Mr. Mitchell could face in relation to the crash in Prince George’s County that killed Officer Adrian Morris, 23. Sources were unclear about whether Mr. Mitchell was driving the car, but said there appears to be no evidence that the Acura had tried to ram the police cruiser or had any physical contact with it during the pursuit.

Mr. Mitchell was taken into custody about 3 a.m. Tuesday as he went to get back into the Acura, which was parked in the District in the 400 block of St. Louis Street Southeast.

According to statements on Twitter from county police department spokeswoman Julie Parker, police had been questioning one of two people who were in the car Tuesday morning. She later said that one of the occupants had been arrested Tuesday afternoon and sources confirmed the person under arrest was Mr. Mitchell.

Authorities said Mr. Mitchell is being held in the District on a bench warrant for failure to appear in court on an unrelated charge and would be arraigned on those charges Wednesday.

Officer Morris, a Laurel resident, had been on the force for 2 1/2 years, but spent five years before that volunteering as a police Explorer. He was born in Kingston, Jamaica, and became a U.S. citizen in 2009, two years after graduating from Eleanor Roosevelt High School. Officer Morris continued to serve as an adviser and mentor to the police Explorers.

"Police Officer Morris represented the very best that our agency has to offer," Police Chief Mark Magaw said in a written statement. "He wanted to be a Prince George’s County police officer from a very young age, and it showed in all of his interactions with the community."

Police said Officer Morris and a second officer, who was treated for minor injuries and released from a hospital Monday night, had been sent to a Shell gas station on Sandy Spring Road in Laurel to investigate an attempted theft from an automobile at 11:50 a.m. Monday. A pair of suspects driving a gray Acura with a temporary license plate had tried to break into a customer’s car and fled the gas station.

The officers were talking to witnesses and gathering evidence when a gas station employee noticed that the Acura had returned to the station, police said. The employee told Officer Morris and his partner, and the two officers chased the vehicle southbound on I-95.

The officers caught up to the Acura and communicated some information to the emergency dispatchers, but police said the vehicle then lost control and ran off the roadway and into a ditch near Powder Mill Road. Officer Morris was ejected from the vehicle and suffered massive head trauma, police said.

On Tuesday, Maryland Gov. Martin O'Malley, a Democrat, ordered state flags to fly at half-staff in memory of Officer Morris’ service. Black drapes were also hung over the doorway of the police station where Officer Morris worked.

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